Coveting, comparing, and Christ

It’s been a LONG time since I have fought the sin of covetousness or have felt sucked in and drug down by comparing. I have other issues but those haven’t seemed to crop up in awhile. I figured I just didn’t struggle in that way, that I was simply “content” with the things God gave me. It’s hard not to be, he has given us so much.

And then it happened.

We were invited to a birthday party for my new friends daughter. And my new friend was a gracious host. She doesn’t live in a huge house but her home is very beautiful. Her decorating taste was very appealing to my eyes. Fresh paint, clean carpet, gleaming hardwoods, beautiful fabrics and accessories. Not over the top but tasteful. Everything was in its proper place, inside and out.

The order, cleanliness, and tastefulness of her home surfaced that old familiar temptation to covet and compare.

Our home is beautiful. I love our home and am so grateful God has entrusted it to us. It’s interesting though how something as simple as someone else’s clean, pretty home potentially can create feelings of inadequacy , or discontent, or wanting more in your own home. I found myself with this “decorating itch” that HAD to be scratched. And scratch I did! I started making a list of what we needed; new area rug, new bedding, more flowers, (because flowers are cheery and bright!) new paint, recover a few things, etc etc. I went to Hobby Lobby, TJmaxx, Walmart, and Home Depot. And then there was all the time spent online,….scrolling.

And more scrolling.

But I was struggling. Not only could I not justify spending the money, I was convicted over the amount of time the whole process of decorating was taking up. This itch was becoming an idol. And my gracious, glorious God will have none before Him.

In His mercy, the Lord kept putting truth before me.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I know that a pristine house is not only unrealistic for our family (Today, thanks to Jake, we have dead animal limbs strewed about our yard) but it’s also not going to be the thing that makes me happy. I think that is the core lie that Satan wants us to believe. That this will bring forever happy feelings. This will satisfy me. This will be the thing that does the trick. But I know in my heart that’s not true. I know it is impossible for me to find true joy in the material earthly things. I may find temporary happiness but it’s just that. Temporary. Fleeting. Lasting joy is found in the Lord and being surrendered to Him. My deepest joys have been found in reading and obeying His Word, in honoring Him in my marriage and parenting, in gathering with the body of Christ, in serving children in foster care,…… but buying new throw pillows? No. That joy lasts all of 24 hours and then they become rocks to jump on to escape hot lava and I’m torn between wigging out on my kids and being caught up in the nostalgia.

Today we sang Forever Reign and I had to ask myself if I meant what I was singing.

“I’m running to Your love. The riches of Your love, will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace. Light of the world forever reign….. my heart will sing, no other name, Jesus.”

If I’m honest, for the last week, that hasn’t been true for me. I have desired an immaculate and well decorated home over Jesus. This past week I have desired what the world deems rich over the riches of Christ love. But the conviction of those lyrics, confessing my misplaced worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit have rightly aligned my heart to His again. I know this is not the last time I’ll fight this battle. Fortunately, I only bought a few fake flowers that were on sale! :-/ But I truly am grateful that, even in my struggle, I’m aware of this truth. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬ Christ and His Kingdom are the only lasting treasures.

“But seek first the Kingdom of God…” Matthew 6:33a ESV

Let Me Introduce You To My Framily

Katie (and baby due soon!!) Stephen, Addie, and Griffin.

Two years ago God brought the Sapp family into our life. I am not embellishing this story in the least. After the joys of Christmas and being with family and friends in Florida, we settled back into normal life in Lindale and I was overwhelmed with sadness. I missed my family and friends. I desired relationship specifically with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have sacrificed that a little more each time we’ve moved, from Tampa to Dallas, and Dallas to Lindale. I believe whole heartedly that God has used isolation to draw me closer to Him and I’m grateful for it, but I also believe He absolutely desires us as Christians to live in community with the body of Christ.

On a Sunday in January of 2015 we were driving to a new church, that was very small, and I confessed to God and Jason how much I needed friendship. And SOON. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬ On this same Sunday, for reasons only explained by God, the Sapps, Stephen and Katie, visited this church even though they lived 45 minutes away. When I saw this family come in I knew I had to meet them and apparently the feeling was mutual. We shook hands and made lunch plans all within the 60 seconds of greeting. To say we hit it off would be a complete understatement. There was an immediate connection on all accounts. We extended our lunch invitation to, “Hey we just had company leave and our house is a complete wreck but want to come over?!” On our second “date” Katie and Stephen came over and I had to run dinner to a friend and I left them alone in my house with my kids. It felt right and crazy all at once but I really had a high level of trust with them immediately into our friendship. As inseparable as adults with jobs and kids can possibly be, that was us for the next few weeks. Before we knew it Stephen and Jason were in business together. And it’s rare for that mixture to work but it did! Katie and I have a special bond as well, it’s always been easy, natural, like sisters. And our kids, well, they all adore each other. Even if we’ve gone a month with out seeing Addie and Griffin (which is simply dreadful!) my kids ask about them. Caleb had few things to say he was thankful for at Thanksgiving (he’s a 4 year old boy, I cut him some slack for now) but one thing he was explicit about, “I’m thankful for my best friends, Addie and Griffin.” Me too, buddy. 🙂

We all agree emphatically that God has brought our families together, maybe simply for the deep Christian friendship, maybe for future ministry endeavors. Hopefully one day he intends to get us in the same neck of the woods! 🙂 Outside of Jason’s cousins we haven’t had many friendships that have sharpened us quite like the Sapp’s. Is our friendship perfect? No. Do we love each other flaws and all? No doubt about it! I’m so grateful for a couple more friends that encourage us to pursue hard after Christ. Friends that cheer us on to do tough, or what the world might consider risky, things. I’m grateful for friends to confide in, confess to, and be held accountable by. I’m grateful for the body of Christ, for the unique connection Jesus’ sacrifice established for us. I’m grateful for God expressing his love to me through answering my prayers for friendship. And every time we get together with the Sapp’s, I’m reminded of Gods goodness and love and I’m awestruck again by this deeply personal relationship we get to have with our Father in Heaven. As Stephen affectionately dubbed us, we’re framily; friends that feel like family.

“Praise the LORD! I will thank the LORD with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our LORD!” Psalms‬ ‭111:1-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A Thank You And An Invitation

To the ones who are praying on our behalf, your prayers are felt and so appreciated. I know with out a doubt, there is no way we could do this with out prayer. Every time I hear “I am praying for you” or am sent a passage of scripture, my mind and heart are encouraged, strengthened, and directed to the One we are doing this with and for. Please keep praying!

To the ones who have brought us dinner, our bellies thank you. My restless body thanks you. And my children and husband are especially grateful for the back up cooks. It may not always occur to people that taking in foster children is a lot like bringing home a new baby. Especially when one IS a new baby 😉 We not only appreciate the night off from cooking but we love the company that comes with the meal.

To the one who babysat for us so we could take Caleb bowling for his 4th birthday, Caleb REALLY thanks you! 🙂 It’s tough being the baby prince and getting dethroned times two. But in truth, we all needed a breather, the time to reconnect as a family unit, the time to celebrate our little boy. Thank you for allowing us to do this with out dragging the little-bitty’s around a loud bowling alley. In fact, they thank you, too! They thank you for loving on them and keeping them in their new calm environment, on schedule, not a minute after bedtime. Everyone was happy! You are a tremendous blessing.

Thank you to the ones who have given clothing, blankets, bottles, pacis, car seats and money for all the other essential baby items. Because these sweet little guys came with absolutely nothing. And yes the state does reimburse for certain items but honestly, I haven’t exactly mastered going shopping with five kids so my sanity thanks you! Your generous example has been a source of edification and reminded us why we should be generous people. Thank you!

As my title says, this is not only a thank you but this is also an invitation to those who are wondering how they can be a support to children and families in foster or adoptive situations. These are just a few ways that you can be a huge blessing to a child and their care givers. If you know a foster family consider being a support to them in one of these ways. If you don’t know a foster family, consider going to your local DFCS office or a private Christian agency and asking if you can encourage and give to one of their existing families. This is something you could consider doing with your local church, small group, or even just a few friends. We are so incredibly thankful for all the ways people have loved on us and these two little ones.

I am linking Bethany Christian services because it is a national organization that likely you can connect with in your area. But there are several organizations like it so feel free to research and ask around and allow God to lead you to the right ministry. (We have chosen to work with the state this time.)

https://www.bethany.org/

I’m also linking their Safe Families ministry. I have a good friend who is a host family. Consider being a host family or a host family friend. 🙂

https://www.bethany.org/other-services/safe-families-for-children

If you have any questions feel free to ask me and I’ll do my best to answer.

Nothing Special 

About a year ago Jason and I began talking and praying through whether or not we would step back into foster parenting. James 1:27 is pretty clear about Christians caring for widows and orphans in their distress and while we know you don’t have to be foster or adoptive parents to do this it was still heavy on our hearts. So we prayed and began pursuing what would be required to become foster parents again. Which in case you are wondering everything was required all over. We attended orientation, 20 hours of training, and began our home study. Around every requirement we saw opportunity for God to open or close the door and reveal His sovereign will. We encountered a few hurdles and lost paper work but ultimately God would say “yes” and we officially became foster parents on June 3rd. We already have our 2nd placement, two baby brothers, a one month old and a one year old.

Now before your head starts spinning as you consider the ages and number of children currently in our home I just want to let you in on a secret.

We are normal.

We get tired. I am in fact, very tired. We need time outs to regroup. We all, Jason, me, and the kids, have to adjust to new visitors and how it throws off our groove. We are learning a new level of patience, we don’t just have it. We are learning new ways to sacrifice and share and love. We are not super parents. We are not saints.

All I can say we are is willing. God most certainly is our strength, joy, patience and provision. It’s just not us. It’s Him. It’s the Holy Spirit.

I have no idea when or what I’ll write about. Of course I have to be careful of not sharing personal information about the children but I do hope to write to encourage foster parents and also give insight to how others can obey the call of James 1:27 with out having to be a foster or adoptive parent. We have been loved on in so many ways by the body of Christ and my heart is full of gratitude for Gods people. We can’t do this alone and I hope to share about how we aren’t. 🙂

Sorrowful Saturday

They were human.

As we’ve been intentionally reflecting on Holy Week and the accounts of the days leading up to the Resurrection, I’m reminded once again of how human the disciples and Jesus are. They were real people with real feelings.

I went back to John this morning and read chapter sixteen verse sixteen through eighteen. It says, “Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.””

They didn’t know what was coming. And this is important to remember because on this day following Jesus death they would have been experiencing deep grief and utter confusion. “What just happened?”

Then there is Peter…. Facing the overwhelming despair that he denied he was a follower of Christ. Can you imagine? In your Saviors most painful hour you completely disassociate with Him and deny even knowing Him. “Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:60-62

For several years now we have chosen to watch the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday. Jesus was fully God and fully Man. But let’s be honest, we tend to think that Him being fully God took away from the human side of Him. He was sinless, but he wasn’t a robot void of human emotions. He experienced sadness and pain. “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44 As The Passion gives us a visual for what Jesus went through physically and emotionally it is clear that he is very much human.

Obedience, grace and love.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah‬ ‭42:1-4‬

“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews‬ ‭12:2‬B

Knowing exactly what He would endure He yielded Himself to the Fathers will. Not only that but in the midst of excruciating pain and suffering He extended grace and forgiveness to all those that denied and persecuted Him. To us. We are the persecutors and the Peter’s. And all you have to do is read the scriptures to see how gracious Jesus is to our unbelieving and disobedient hearts. He offers forgiveness. Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'”

Today I take in the death of Christ. The times I have denied him, betrayed him even. I weep bitterly along with Peter.

They were human just like me. Just like you.

But then….. tomorrow will come! His death will not be in vain.

“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” John‬ ‭16:20‬

Because of Jesus Christs indescribable, amazing love for us, our sins have been nailed to the cross.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭

May your sorrow turn to joy this Easter.

In His grace,
Katie

Moving the Mountain of “me”

  The same power that rose Jesus from the grave

The same power that commands the dead to wake

Lives in us, lives in us

The same power that moves mountains when He speaks

The same power that can calm a raging sea

Lives in us, lives in us

He lives in us, lives in us

Jeremy Camp

As I struggled this weekend at several points to be joyful and have a good attitude (choosing that word was quite ambitious of me!) this song played again and again. We all love the idea of faith that can move mountains. It’s very grand, powerful and awesome. But what about the faith that can change our attitude? To be honest that’s where I struggle the most. I get sucked into a bad attitude and excuse it like its no big deal to God, “I’ll be better tomorrow”, and who cares if for 24 hrs I’m a horrible witness by my lack of joy. He cares that’s Who. I had this thought cross my mind….that power to move mountains does live in me but let’s just say I literally moved a mountain with a wave of my hand would that glorify God? “Hey, check out this mountain I just moved, praise the Lord!” Or is God mainly wanting us to understand the amazing strength of His power in us to do impossible things, like move mountains, so we can be conquerors in practical things, like changing our attitudes, selfishness, fears, distrust ect. How we act and treat others most definitely has the ability to glorify God by displaying His power, love, and grace to a watching world. And how we act/treat others can have the opposite effect. Which of course reminds me of Pauls words, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:2‬

Simply put when I have a fearful, distrusting, gloomy attitude it’s not loving to others. And if I think moving mountains would be great I need to believe that changing my attitude would be even better!

I’m finding when it comes to my lack of joy it’s a faith problem. Choosing joy over sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, ect. is really hard for some of us to do. With myself I’m seeing a pattern of clinging to my negative feelings as a way to try and control. When I’m confronted with needing to choose joy in the moment it feels like this huge impossible act of faith to let go and trust God. I can just see myself clinging to fear “Are you sure God? Can I really let this go, trust you, and be joyful, no matter the outcome? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?” 

My daughter, Micaila, has fears (probably thanks to me) about certain things. And whenever she gets really worked up and emotional I try to instill truth and confidence in her because I know her fear, typically, is unwarranted and that she will be okay. All I want is for her to trust me, her mother, and to not be afraid. 

I know God is using Micaila to convey the same message to me. 🙂

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭

I can just hear Jesus saying “Katie, you are lacking faith when you choose fear over joy, anger over joy, gloom over joy, guilt over joy. The same power that moves mountains lives in you and this power, Me, wants to start with your joy.” Maybe not as impressive as moving a mountain but definitely important for giving glory to God.

Lord Jesus I pray I would have faith to move mountains and it would be reflected in my attitude and daily trusting you. Help all of us as Christians to see the importance of how we act. That being surrendered to the Holy Spirit will result in a changed mind, heart, and life. May we not be cavalier with our sinful attitudes or actions but have the desire and will to do only what pleases You Lord. 

My Word for 2016

For 2015 I chose the word obedience. Like any “resolution” you start off pretty strong and intentional and then 6 months later you find yourself slacking a bit, not pondering that word or commitment as intensely as before. But last year God gave me ample reminders and opportunity to consider this word I had chosen. 

  • In May, I followed through with His prompting to be re-baptized. It was important to acknowledge that my life had not been surrendered to Him for years, even into adulthood. I am now and I needed to respond humbly and publicly by way of baptism. 
  • After many months of prayer and consideration my husband and I sensed the Lord was prompting us to homeschool our daughters….. Again. This was a huge step for me in particular because while I sensed strongly this was Gods leading, I was scared, knowing how difficult it would be and the sacrifice involved. In faith I obeyed. 
  • For the last year and a half we have been attending a church plant in our area. From our vantage point, the town we live in needs the vision of this church, yet it has struggled to really get going. It’s left us wondering whether God wanted to use us here or not on several occasions. In September our founding, lead and basically only pastor felt led to step down. We found ourselves with the “perfect exit” and yet God impressed on Jason and I both to stay with the body of Christ and see that this church doesn’t close its doors to a broken community in need of the Savior. We have yet to resolve many issues the church has, like not having a pastor, but we know God is still on his throne and we will not walk away unless he asks us to.
  • In November my husband had the opportunity to go on his first foreign missions trip to Guatemala. Knowing what an incredible opportunity this would be for him I excitedly supported his desire to go. But as his trip drew near I realized this would require me to spend several nights alone. I have issues with being alone, to say the least. I did spend one night away with our cousins but I sensed God prompting me to spend some nights at home, with my kids, not alone but with HIM. I fought the temptation to ignore this prompting and stay with a friend and I embraced the dark of the night with His Word in my grip, the prayers of His saints and His voice whispering comfort and strength in my ear. “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust………You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭91:2, 5‬

Those are some examples of opportunities I was given to choose obedience and because I did, I experienced the fruit of yielding to Christ. Fruit like greater trust in Him, strengthening patience and faith, and joy in obedience. There were of course other times that I chose not to obey and reaped the consequences of my resistance and disobedience to God or simply missed out on partnering with God in his bigger story. A life surrendered to Christ obviously is a lifelong pursuit of obedience. He’s revealed to me time and again the delight of surrendering to His Lordship. Though my word this year is changing my desire in that area is not. Obedience is the mark of a Christ follower. 

But this brings me to my Word for 2016….

Joy. 



Every where I go it seems God is impressing this word on me. In fact I burst out with excitement and a big grin when my friend and fellow blogger chose the same word! 🙂 love it! Joy is also the mark of a Christ follower. I want to have, express, and exude joy.


Joy in weakness.

“Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.” Psalms‬ ‭63:7‬ ‭

Joy in salvation.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” ‭Psalms‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭

“You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:4‬ 

Joy in trials.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while…….You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:6&8

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”‭‭ James‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭

Joy in our Refuge and His love.

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.” Psalms‬ ‭5:11‬ 

Joy in troubles that results in giving of ourselves.

“Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” ‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:1-2‬

Joy in the Lords discipline.

“Joyful are those you discipline, LORD, those you teach with your instructions.” Psalms‬ ‭94:12‬ ‭

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭30:5

Joy in forgiveness.

“Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.” Romans‬ ‭4:8‬ 

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” Psalms‬ ‭32:1‬ ‭


Joy in obedience.


“I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭

Joy in HIM alone.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Psalms‬ ‭16:11‬ ‭

“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭90:14‬ ‭

“There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!”‭‭ Psalms‬ ‭43:4‬ ‭

Joy. Unspeakable joy.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” Philippians‬ ‭4:4‬